The Google Buy Button: Impact for Retailers and Mobile Conversions

By Tinuiti Team

Google Confirms Buy Button Testing

The rumored Google Buy Button has finally made a move in the ecommerce market with it’s latest launch announcement.

Last week, Google’s Chief Business Officer, Omid Kordestani confirmed the long standing rumors on stage at the Code Conference, “There’s going to be a Buy Button. It’s going to imminent.”

The newest feature will challenge Amazon’s “one-click” ordering system and has the potential to transform Google’s custom search empire into a dynamic marketplace with increased mobile friendly purchasing abilities.

How will the Google Buy Button Impact Retailers?

We sat down with 4 retail experts to find out how they anticipate the Google Buy button (specifically mobile) will impact the ecommerce industry and if retailers should prepare for it.

rick-backus“It’s not going to impact the majority of sellers on Google for a while, so I don’t think retailers should overreact to it. Besides having a mobile optimized site, I don’t believe there are a whole lot of actions that a retailer needs to take at this time.

Google has been pretty explicit that they are going to sell through retailers. I’m confident they are going to show the name of the retailers and give it prominent placement – unlike Amazon where you don’t really know who you are buying from.

It sounds like they are going to share the customer information with the retailers as well – which is different than Amazon. It seems to me that a Google Marketplace would be a more positive experience for sellers.

The challenge will be for Google to create an experience for customers that comes anywhere close to what Amazon is already doing.” – Rick Backus, CEO at CPC Strategy


nii-ahene“It’s really a wait and see for most retailers that are not enrolled in the beta. Google does have a tendency to use Q4 to launch, so we will see how accelerated the roll out is actually going to be.

I think the bigger opportunity here is if Google can eliminate the friction from the buying experience on mobile, especially if a customer’s Google Buy Button is attached to their Google Wallet with credit card and shipping information. That is a huge challenge for retail websites at this time.

It’s clear that increasing mobile conversion rate is a priority for Google. A Google Buy Button means that retailers have an universal checkout system (billing, shipping address, and identity rolled into one)  that can be used with any website. If Google is successful in figuring out how to get this to scale beyond a limited subset of retailers the impact could be huge.

The concept behind the product is a good one, the question retailers should be mindful of is the following- How long is it going to take to see this feature progress from being a beta product, to be universally available, to a requirement or ranking factor in Google’s shopping algorithm.” – Nii Ahene, COO at CPC Strategy


tien-ngyuen“From a technology standpoint retailers will have to ensure more than ever that they have the ability to publish 100% accurate (not just 99.9%) info as far as price and availability goes to Google Shopping via API calls or their data feed.

It also furthers the importance of implementing microdata onto their pages as the test stores that Google is working with have this implemented and will help ensure the data is up to par.

The difference between a temporary price or availability mismatch on Google Shopping and on a merchant’s website may just be a wasted click, but with the Buy Button, it may lead to poor feedback, negative reviews, and getting kicked off of the program. – Tien Nguyen, Director of Technology at CPC Strategy


jeff-coleman“Google is taking on an additional risk from a customer service perspective because they are now vouching that this is going to be a smooth experience and customers are going to get the product that they want on time.

Which leads me to believe Google is probably only going to allow this program for Google Trusted Stores – making it all the more important to become one.

If the customer is checking out through Google and their hitting the Buy Button – whether it’s right or wrong, customers are going to associate Google with that order.

So if it doesn’t get delivered on time or they’re not happy with the experience, they are going to blame Google. Google is most likely not going to let anyone into the program that they don’t already trust.”- Jeff Coleman Director, Account Management at CPC Strategy


How will Google Manage Buy Button Customer Service Feedback?

In addition to Google Trusted Stores, Google will focus on two other main sources to measure the trustworthiness of its retail advertisers including:

  • StellaService – This program is very like a secret shopper for your online store. Unlike traditional review sources that use online surveys to aggregate customer opinions, StellaService staffers attempts to objectify the customer service experience by actually ordering the products themselves and rating KPIs like shipping, delivery and returns.
  • Bizrate – Immediately after checkout, Bizrate sends customers a survey asking them to rate their shopping experience. Bizrate then sends out another survey after the product has been shipped for the customer to rate the delivery and returns process.


Google vs. Amazon: Is the Buy Button a Mobile Game Changer?

It’s a problem for Google and their advertisers that Amazon conversion rates on mobile are so much higher.

“That means the customer experience is better and it means retailers will take their products there,” Backus said.

“Mobile traffic is only going to continue growing and Google doesn’t have the real estate to offer text ads. They know Google Shopping is the way to promote products on mobile but if they are not converting then the advertisers are not going to keep investing in the channel.”

“Google needs to decrease the friction of check out on mobile, to increase the conversion rate to then get more advertising revenue back into the mobile traffic.”


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